Added by RedfoxEstonia | Tue 03 Aug 2010 @ 12:23
take the effort and make this bread traditionally baked for weddings and other festivities only at old times! It doesn´t need bread starter, but you can add some for insurance if you like.
800 g very fine rye flour
200 g wheat flour (bread flour)
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ordinary salt
1 tsp sugar
700 ml hot water (quite boiling!)
3 tbsp malt syrup
NO STARTER NEEDED but not forbidden to add 100 g
Mix the flours and divide into half and half. Pour hot water on half of the flour which already has the cumin seeds in it, and beat it good, until you see bubbles forming. Cover with a cloth. Hot water makes fine rye flour really really sweet. Beat the dough (and I mean heavily and for at least 5 minutes at a time) 2 -3 times a day or every time it has risen up to the edge of the bowl (you need a truly high bowl y´know or a real \"astja\" or \"leivalõim\", traditional estonian breadmaking vessels carved out of a single log and smoked with juniper branches). By the way, juniper berries or juniper flour is also a good addition to this bread.
During the night the dough cools down, that´s ok. it gets on full gear the other day again so don´t leave home for quite the whole day or you´ll have a flood.
Taste the dough and whenever it has gone sour enough to your taste (preferably give it at least 2 days if not 3 cause the sweetness of the fine rye balances out the sourness) and then mix the dough. Add salt, sugar, syrup and the rest of the flour a cup at a time and knead until the dough doesnt stick to your hands that much. Grease a 1 kg bread tin and fill it 2/3. Sprinkle with flour, make 5-6 holes and leave to rise for at least 3 hours or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 250 C and place the bread in the middle of the oven. Bake on very high temperature for 30 minutes, then lower to 200 and bake for 2 hours. Brush the bread with warm milk, sugar and water mixture during the baking at least twice. You´ll get a golden crust. The bread may even need up to 3 hours so test it with a wooden stick or take it out of the tin and bake without that for 10 more minutes so it really cooks through.
Cool the bread for 1 hour inside the tin, then take it out, wrap inside a towel and let it cool completely until the next day. The fine rye bread has such a strong cumin flavor it doesn´t like strong fillings and bread-sides, just plain butter and cold milk is the best. Or pea soup (made with smoked rib or meatless, whichever you like).
White rye bread may dry a bit but preserves well for at least a month.